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Women’s Inter Zonal Multi-Day Trophy 2024 Final: “Want to finish as winners and not participants” says South Zone coach Diana David


For Diana David, South Zone is like home. It’s an outfit she has captained for the better part of a decade and now, she’s at the helm of a bunch of dreamers from diverse cultural and cricketing legacies as the coach of the same side.

Now, she and her team are eight wickets away from what will be a cherished victory for the outfit against East Zone in the summit clash of a tournament that is making its comeback to the domestic setup after six years.

“We didn’t get too much time to practise. The outfit was put together and we had a few days of training ahead of the semifinal against West Zone,” Diana told Sportstar after her team took two wickets against East Zone chasing 183 to win.

“No one thought we’d make it here. We weren’t given much of a chance, but here we are and all we want to do is finish the tournament as winners and not participants,” the 39-year-old said.

READ THE SECOND DAY REPORT | Women’s Inter Zonal Multi-Day Trophy 2024 Final: East Zone 154 runs away from title after spinners dominate second day’s play

South opted to bat first against Deepti Sharma’s East but was only able to post 133 in under 45 overs. However, the bowlers led by skipper Minnu Mani, managed to bowl out South for just 129, taking a four-run first innings lead. The side then managed an improved showing with the bat to put up 179 in 70.5 overs, courtesy a important 61-run stand off 166 balls which wore down East’s bowling arsenal.

Minnu’s 117-ball 31 was crucial in bringing stability in South’s second innings.

“Minnu is an introvert but she thinks a lot about the game. I just told her to view the innings in sessions, as I did to everyone else. The idea was to slow things down and defend. Block and consolidate,” Diana added.

South Zone’s coach Diana David with skipper Minnu Mani at the Inter Zonal Multi Day Trophy final against East Zone. 

South Zone’s coach Diana David with skipper Minnu Mani at the Inter Zonal Multi Day Trophy final against East Zone. 
| Photo Credit:
LAVANYA LAKSHMI NARAYANAN

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South Zone’s coach Diana David with skipper Minnu Mani at the Inter Zonal Multi Day Trophy final against East Zone. 
| Photo Credit:
LAVANYA LAKSHMI NARAYANAN

Diana is quite the busy bee. When her team is playing, she has drills going on for the reserves or for players yet to head out in the middle. Minnu is often seen by her side and the conversations get animated very quickly, with a lot shadow batting, technical strategising and discussing pros and cons of bowling variations she might want to try.

“At this stage of their careers, there isn’t much for me to do as coach. My job is to ensure morale is up and all parts are working in order. We have a lively bunch who does a big part of this themselves. They are happy and go out of their way to support each other,” she explained.

Not only is South battling a strong East Zone side led by India regulars like Deepti and Richa Ghosh, but the players are also battling the elements in Pune with the region’s dry heat adding to the challenge of playing over multiple days.

“The girls have been struggling. Food hasn’t been too good either so they have been struggling with a bug. They’ve needed help but they’re a bunch of fighters,” she said.

The former off spinner, who famously took four wickets against Sri Lanka to help India make the semifinal of 2010 Women’s T20 World Cup, is confident that red ball cricket will become a stable part of the Indian women’s ecosystem.

“Long format cricket is very important for skill building and what we’re hearing is that red ball is here to stay. We can see more tournaments come up at the age group levels too,” Diana said.



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